How To Find A Good Groomer

 

Whether you’re unsatisfied with your current groomer or you have a new pet and are looking for a new groomer, finding someone you can trust to take care of your furry loved one can be a harrowing experience.  So today I am here to help you with some suggestions on things to look for when choosing the right groomer for you and your pet.

Experience

With practice comes perfection and that can not be more true for pet groomers.  Don’t get me wrong, an inexperienced pet groomer could give your pet just the haircut you were looking for, but if you are hoping to get a more complicated trim or have a finer eye for detail then you may want to seek out someone with more experience.  When I first started as a pet groomer I would have not been as comfortable grooming a Bichon Frise as someone with more experience would have been.  But after practicing on Bichons over time I now have no problem grooming one.  My first few weren’t terrible but they weren’t my best grooms either.

Safety is another thing that seems to come with experience,  While all groomers can make mistakes at any stage in their grooming career, problems are more likely to occur with a beginner.   (However, there are likely many beginners who may not have an incident until they are several years into the grooming process.)  I made a couple mistakes in my first years and I have learned from every one of them.  Now, as a more experienced groomer, I find myself not repeating the same mistakes.

There is a reason that most shops seek experienced groomers for hire.  Their speed, quality, and skill are highly desired.


Reviews and Recommendations

I strongly suggest looking up a groomer’s reviews on websites such as Yelp or Google to get a better understanding of their reputation, as this type of customer feedback is very valuable in determining the personality & professionalism of the groomer.  Keep in mind, however, that it’s common for even the best groomer to get a bad review or two.  In the end, the customer’s opinion of a groom is based on personal preference — so while one customer might not like how her dog ends up looking, a different person may look at that same dog and thinks it looks great.

 Asking the groomer if they have a portfolio for you to view is another option.  While some may not have a physical record book of their work, they may have pictures posted on their website or social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  If you are looking for a breed-specific groom, don’t be afraid to ask the groomer for  references.  Most of the time their clients would be more than happy to fill you in if they are satisfied with their grooms.

Another great source for a recommendation is your local veterinarian.  They could give you advice on who you should try out or who you should avoid based on the feedback they receive from their own clientele.

Shop Cleanliness

While there is going to be some hair around the groomer’s salon, you want to select a shop that looks like it is cleaned and maintained on a regular basis.   Is their equipment clean?  How about their kennels and bathing area?  The reason to be concerned about the cleanliness is the increased likelihood of disease transmission in a dirty shop.  Aside from the common kennel cough that dogs can catch in a grooming salon — make sure your dog is up to date on their bordetella vaccine for the best protection against the cough — there is also the risk of parasites such as fleas, mites and worms.  Having your dog on a monthly flea prevention can help prevent them from picking up fleas. There are also other health risks such as bacterial and fungal skin infections like ringworm.

I personally view shop cleanliness as a reflection of the groomer’s work ethic.  Now, I am not saying that the shop needs to be immaculate but it does need to look like it’s being cleaned periodically.  Someone who takes the time to clean their shop and equipment will definitely take the time to make sure your pet is looking and feeling its best.

Insurance

Determining if the grooming business is insured is an important factor when choosing a groomer.  In my opinion, you should only consider a grooming shop or mobile salon that is insured. While we hope that nothing requiring veterinarian assistance will happen to your pet, such as a fall, nick, cut or burn, it is reassuring to know that if something does accidentally happen, all of the associated vet bills will be covered by a professional pet-grooming insurance policy.

Availability

When searching for a groomer you will need to consider their hours of operation.  Will they work with your schedule?  For instance if you need weekend or evening appointments you will need a groomer who works those hours.   Also consider that some salons book out far in advance and have little flexibility when it comes to rescheduling.  Would that be an issue for you? Check to see how far the groomer is booked out.

How would you feel if it was a different groomer working on your dog every time or every other time?  Having the same groomer each groom allows for consistency in the haircuts and a familiarization with your dog at each grooming appointment.  So make sure your dog will be able to have the same groomer for every groom if that is important to you.

 

I hope this information helps aid you in the search for your furry friend’s new groomer.  The relationship between a pet and its groomer is one that can last a lifetime if the right groomer is found.  As this is a subject that most pet owners face eventually, I would be very interested to hear your input in the comments below.  What else do you find important when it comes to looking for the right groomer?

Photo credit: foxypar4 / Foter / CC BY

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